North East Wildlife

Exploring Wildlife

across the North East

Thanks for stopping by Common By Nature!

Focused on botany and insects, this blog brings together my observations of wildlife across the North East.

As a naturalist, my main interest is biological recording. This means that much of what you’ll see here will focus on finding and identifying wildlife, of all kinds.

This blog has changed a lot since 2011 but from plants to ladybirds, I hope you find something here to interest you!

New posts on North East wildlife

Observations on nature in Newcastle, Northumberland and beyond.

Exploring Urban Cotoneasters in Newcastle

Recently, I’ve been taking a closer look at wild and naturalised cotoneasters in Newcastle. Here’s what I’ve found so far, from an amateur’s perspective.

Identifying Snowdrops

Get started identifying the wild and naturalised snowdrops you’re most likely to spot in a brand-new crib sheet suitable for beginners.

Recording Ladybirds

Since 2020, I have become increasingly enamored with Britain’s diverse and beautiful ladybirds and for a while now, have been making an effort to record those found across the North East.

A personal challenge, if you will, these pages share my discoveries and observations so far. With a long way to go and many more places to visit, I’ll keep this area updated with ladybird news and discoveries.

Recent posts on ladybirds

Articles and updates on ladybirds and their recording in the North East.

Ladybirds: A Short Talk and a New Course

With the arrival of winter, now seemed like a good time to look back on a year’s worth of ladybirds and look forward to a new course in 2023. A…


Of all the branches of natural history, it is botany that interests me the most.

While I am certainly not an expert, despite finding myself in the lucky position of becoming a BSBI County Recorder, here you’ll find observations, articles, and musings on plant life in the North East.

From exquisite orchids to urban trees, let’s see what we can discover!

Recent botany blogs

Recording and enjoying plants across Newcastle and Northumberland.

Identifying Small-flowered Fleabanes

Get started identifying small-flowered fleabanes a brand-new crib sheet suitable for beginners. So far, this fledgling series of botanical cribs has focused on plants commonly encountered in urban areas. In…

Identifying Dead-nettles

Start identifying dead-nettles with a new crib suitable for beginners. Includes most of the species you’re likely to spot in urban habitats.

Identifying Ragworts and Groundsels

Get started identifying ragworts and groundsels with a brand-new crib sheet suitable for beginners. Find keys boring? You’re not alone. While those of us who spend our days obsessively searching…

Weekend Botany at Walker

This weekend provided a nice opportunity for our new local botany group to visit Walker Riverside. Here’s what we encountered. Botany (and wildlife recording in general) can often be a…

Mountain Pansies, like this one at Allen Banks, feature regularly on this nature blog

The Basics of Wildlife Recording

A quick look at the basics of biological recording, including the key components of a wildlife record.

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Sharing Your Wildlife Records

So, you’ve created a wildlife record. Now, where do you send it to maximise its value for conservation?

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Comparing Plant ID Apps

Plant identification apps can be confusing, especially at first. However, there are lots out there to help botanists ID their finds.

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North East wildlife highlights

Just a few exciting finds and lucky captures from walks across the region